In the 90s, the Tamagotchi was for many their first pet: regularly check if it is hungry, take care of it, see if it needs anything… In short, an approach to the responsibilities of caring for a “living being” through a video game.
Today, more than 18 million people play video games in Spain according to the AEVI 2022 Yearbook, of which 72% play every week. A significant percentage of the population that plays video games as a form of entertainment and also, in many cases, as part of their routines. Routines that can contribute to increasing the well-being of the players and being healthier.
In the words of Ana Belén Medialdea, general health psychologist, “Today there are still prejudices with video games, but the truth is that, if we use them responsibly, they can be a tool that helps us to have emotional well-being. Video games, when we use them as hobbies and as long as they are played in a moderate and balanced way, can help us escape or evade our daily worries, improve our problem-solving skills and improve our mood.”
Recently Niantic, the developer of games like Pokémon GO, has presented Peridot, a novel pet simulator that combines the real world with pets from the virtual world through augmented reality. Peridot taps into this desire to harken back to simpler times, with a modern twist, to the beloved Tamagotchi concept.
In this game, available for free on mobile devices, players can bond with these digital pets just like they would with a real one: they can pet them, throw them a ball, feed them, teach them tricks, or dress them up. In addition, these creatures encourage their keepers to get out and about, and connect with other members of the community. Peridots are curious creatures and will recognize a wide variety of environments and objects while out for their daily walk.
“Video games like Peridot motivate you to go out, interact with the environment and interact with others, and have various benefits for mental health. First of all, by encouraging you to go outside and walk, it allows the players to get physical exercise. Going for a walk is scientifically proven to help us release cortisol and generate endorphins and serotonin, which help us enhance well-being.
As for virtual pets, players can develop affection with their virtual pet through care and interaction. They can foster a sense of responsibility, by having to take care of it and attend to its needs and feel satisfied or boost its level of well-being by seeing it prosper and grow”, says Ana Belén Medialdea.
In summary, this growing number of players of all ages (which will undoubtedly continue to increase in the coming years) have more and more games available to them that help them establish healthy routines, encouraging physical exercise outdoors, contact with other players and the experience of sharing time with your first pet in augmented reality. Furthermore, Peridot allows players to enjoy at their own pace and enter a fantasy world.